Updated: Nov 15, 2020
Amidi has been a lot on my mind lately. She doesn't get put up in the show ring often. Her photos are the least commented on. She's a sound, moderate, solid girl, but one who isn't flashy. She's a talented courser, can tie Anubi in racing when she really puts her mind to it, and honestly has more titles than Anubi did at the same age. And everyone who meets her in person absolutely adores her, so it's more than time she has her own blog post.
I was added to the waiting list for Ami's litter substantially before her mother was bred. After a year in the show and performance world with Anubi I was seriously considering getting into breeding and was looking for a bitch to compliment him both physically and in pedigree. While I was still very green to breeding concepts (I have since spent literally hundreds of hours doing pedigree and breeding deep dives), to this day I think between good luck and decent instinct, I chose quite well.
The wait was well over six months by the time I brought Ami home. I corresponded with her breeders and their friends regularly and adored watching the puppies grow. Deb Kidwell, one of Ami's breeders, did the near unheard of thing and let me have first pick of the girls and I will forever be grateful to her and Norma for that.
So shortly after the pups turned eight weeks I flew to Tennessee, stayed with Deb, and got to look over the three girls of the litter. I was looking for the driviest girl with solid structure and good handler focus. I had a personal favorite (the black mask girl) going in, but I'd been told the girl with the white nose had the most outgoing personality. She and the black masked girl had very similar structure (they still do) but the white nosed girl had a...rather homely head.
I got there and sat with the puppies for a couple hours. I watched them play inside and out and with their littermates. I saw how they interacted with people and played with toys with them. While I loved the little black faced girl it was the white nosed girl who kept coming back to me and staring me in the eyes. She was the one who stayed on the tug toy longest and wasn't overbearing with her sisters. Though it hadn't been my plan, I went home with the little white nosed girl and named her Amidi. That's why you evaluate puppies in person. I'm friends with the owner of Sakinah, the black masked girl and she's grown into a lovely adult. But there's no doubt in my mind I made the right choice for me personally and the lifestyle we live. And as a bonus, Ami has grown to have a really lovely head.
Something I didn't talk much about at the time was the string of bad luck I had with Ami growing up. She went to puppy daycare, which she really loved as a young puppy but came down with a bad case of kennel cough that took three+ weeks to clear up. She had to be completely isolated from other dogs. She still went to work at the theatre with Whitman and loved seeing all the people there, but her socialization with dogs was heavily curtailed at a critical time. Then she came down with it again a few weeks later (at that point I wasn't messing around and she went straight on a course of antibiotics which immediately did the trick). When she went back to daycare she was in a fear period. She was nervous of other dogs. She was suddenly prone to resource guarding. I pulled her from daycare and mostly stuck to socializing her with respectful adults. With time, she started to be comfortable in those settings but few others.
Around that time she also developed mild leash reactivity stemming from her new found insecurity around dogs. That was easily managed and not a problem I've seen pop up in over a year, but it was certainly a sharp change from the confident, dog social puppy I'd brought home.
Not long after, she managed to tear off her dewclaw while running in a field with Anubi. She wasn't limping, she didn't cry out, and she was a champ about bandaging, but it still meant she was on crate rest for a couple weeks while it healed. It healed ever so slightly wonky, but it doesn't seem to affect her in the least and she's never caught it again. Could this have been avoided by removing dewclaws? Sure, but when I see her come back from coursing with her dirt under her dewclaws, it's very evident that she actively uses those claws to corner. An injury is a risk I am willing to run for functionality.
I was raising Ami during the revelation about the potential dangers of grain-free foods. This meant I was in the process of finding a new food for my dogs and I had to shop around for a puppy food that worked. I tried Royal Canin Large Breed Puppy, which turns out to have been completely incompatible with Ami. While she was on it she had all sorts of GI issues and her feet, which had been nice and tightly knuckled started to go flat as well as her other connective tissue loosening. This corrected itself partially with a diet change and the addition of Vitamin C, but her feet have never gone back to as tightly knuckled as they were. Epigentics are a fascinating thing and I definitely did a lot of reading about it while I was going through this with Ami. (Not looking for a lecture about big commercial dog food companies or a comparison of raw. We've since switched to Purina Pro Plan have had zero issues. It just wasn't a good fit for Ami).
Following that, at a coursing trial that Anubi and Ash were running in, Ami managed to get a foxtail embedded in her foot. I noticed pretty immediately and we got it removed, but I suspect we missed a piece because she limped for months afterwards. Ami's poor feet just couldn't catch a break during her puppyhood. For all that, she's never had foot issues while coursing and racing. We'll see as she ages if she develops any arthritis, but thankfully the foot issues she had don't seem to affect her in present day at all.
For all the random, unlucky challenges I had with her growing up, as an adult performance dog she has been wonderfully sound. She's never had an injury (knock on wood) and she's never gotten sick again. And even with those challenges, she still got a huge amount of exposure to trials and dog shows. To this day shows and trials are absolutely one of her favorite things in the world. She'll walk through the grounds with her tail wagging and sometimes will happily jump into a strangers lap. She'll go up to complete strangers all wiggly and excited. In general, it's hard not to fall in love with her at trials.
She still has her guarding instincts, for those who say she's overly friendly She's much more on alert in the house to guests and in the neighborhood. And in general, isn't tolerant of strange dogs in her space. She can coexist fine if introduced well and the other dog has manners (or I'm managing to other dog to keep them out of her face), but most of her guarding instinct revolves around dogs rather than people.
I absolutely adore how this girl has developed. She is moderate with gorgeous unexaggerated breed specific movement. She's very showy in the ring and stands for exam beautifully (always has). And her homely head has developed into a very pretty, quite feminine head, despite my having accepted that she would have a heavier head long ago.
I got Ami as a sports prospect and breeding prospect. She was the first dog I ever got intending for her to be more than just a pet. She's also the first bitch (the technical, actual term for a girl dog) I've ever had. And she has so very much lived up to my expectations. She adores flyball. Is a talented courser, beating Anubi the first two days she ever ran, and earning her first Best in Field in the midst of false pregnancy at 18 months old. She has taken to every sport I have ever thrown at her with ease - why yes, I did just throw her in harness next to Anubi and take her joring. Why yes, it did actually go fantastically. And for all the credit Anubi gets for the number of titles he's earned Ami had earned proportionally more at the same ages up until COVID when compared to Anubi.
I love this dog. The grace with which she overcame the adversity and bad luck she faced as a puppy impresses the hell out of me. I love her spunk and her joy and her beauty and I sure wish she got more credit because structurally she is my favorite of my dogs.
Amidi: BIF Kel Simoon Shani N'Sambala RN SC CGCA CGCU ACT1 TKP JSR (at time of this post)